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River, river! brimming river!
Broad and deep, and still as time;
Seeming still, yet still in motion,
Tending onward to the ocean,
Just like mortal prime.

River, river! headlong river!
Down you dash into the sea, _
Sea that line hath never sounded,
Sea that sail hath never rounded,
Like eternity.
The poet describes various stages of the river, comparing it with the life of a human. She explores the childhood and youth phase in the first two stanzas and later goes on to talk about the later stages of the river when the water gushes on the surface level. In the initial stages, the river does not have much depth. As one delves deeper, the depth increases as the river is brimming with water. The flow towards the end at stages where the river is about to unite with the ocean is actually still. The poet says that the river is still as time. Time may be still, but at the same time, one cannot regain a lost second. Similarly, the river is in motion as it is moving towards its destination, the ocean, but at the same time, it is still. It is also broad and deep, just like the middle ages of an individual when they go through several realities of life. The poet also compares the ocean's slow movement towards the ocean to the prime of a human, who is getting one step closer to the end of his life with each passing day.
River uniting with ocean
The poem's last stanza deals with a philosophical touch, as it also talks about the final days of an individual in the world. But she does not talk of death as the final destination, rather she says that there is life after death. Death does not mean the end, but it is an eternity afterlife. She touches on the concept of the afterlife and immortality with reference to the ocean. The sea has never set sail to any place, meaning that it is one way and nobody can return from the afterlife. No ship has ever gone around the sea and set sail, to be compared to eternity. Human life is as transient as the river. Once the purpose is completed and the destination is reached, it has to leave the world and become one with the Universe. She also addresses it as headlong, as the river's head unites with the sea, and then the entire water body gushes into it. It joins the ocean with all its quietness, too quickly without any thought.
Words with difficult meaning:
BrimmingTo be full of something
BroadCovering a wide area
MotionTo be in constant movement
MortalThat which will die and cannot live forever
PrimeThe middle and the youthful days of one's life
HeadlongTo rush in quickly
DashMove in a faster pace
EternitySomething that lasts forever
GushTo flow in great quantity
DestinationThe place where someone is going
TransientThat which does not last long
SailTo travel via a ship or boat
State Council of Educational Research and Training (2019). English Standard-9. The River- C.A. Bowles (pp. 141-145). Published by the Tamil Nadu Textbook and Educational Services Corporation.